Researchers in the School of Life & Health Sciences at Aston University in Birmingham, UK are developing a novel new way to model how the human brain works by creating a living representation of the brain.
They are using cells originally from a tumor that have been reprogrammed to stop multiplying. Using the same natural molecule that the body uses to stimulate cellular development, the cells are turned into a co-culture of nerve cells and astrocytes - the most basic units of the human brain
Coordination becomes difficult, items disappear, keeping new information in the mind is impossible. Worldwide almost 30 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative, irreversible ailment which starts with memory gaps and ends in helplessness and the loss of personality. The most critical factor in developing Alzheimer’s disease is age. Most cases occur after the age of 65.
Two hallmarks are typical for Alzheimer affected brains
In comparison to many other living creatures, flies tend to be small and their brains, despite their complexity, are quite manageable. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried have now ascertained that these insects can make up for their low number of nerve cells by means of sophisticated network interactions. The neurobiologists examined nerve cells that receive motion information in their input region from only a narrow area of the fly's field of vision
Scientists have already hooked brains directly to computers by means of metal electrodes, in the hope of both measuring what goes on inside the brain and eventually healing conditions such as blindness or epilepsy. In the future, the interface between brain and artificial system might be based on nerve cells grown for that purpose. In research that was recently featured on the cover of Nature Physics, Prof. Elisha Moses of the Physics of Complex Systems Department and his former research students Drs
In a study that could have significant consequences for neural tissue transplantation strategies, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies report that inactivating a specific gene in adult neural stem cells makes nerve cells emerging from those precursors form connections in the wrong part of the adult brain.
Researchers, led by Fred H. Gage, Ph.D
Researchers at the UT Southwestern Medical Center have found a number of small compounds that stimulate nerve stem cells to develop into nerve cells. They synthesized a version that they are calling isoxazole-9, or ISX-9. This compound seems to have applications in nerve damage and brain cancer chemotheryapy.
Scientists have found that a lessened supply of new nerve cells in the adult brain apparently triggers short-term memory loss typically associated with aging, setting the stage for one day developing therapies designed to maintain a steady supply of fresh neurons to keep the mind sharp.
An article published today, July 16, 2007, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides strong evidence for a novel type of communication between nerve cells in the brain. The findings may have relevance for the prevention and treatment of epilepsy, and possibly in the exploration of other aspects of brain functions, from creative thought processes to mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. The discovery suggests the first new model of brain function since the 1940s.
Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have developed a novel strategy to expand the natural repertoire of 20 amino acids in mammalian cells, including neurons, and successfully inserted tailor-made amino acids into proteins in these cells. In a powerful demonstration of the method's versatility, they then used unnatural amino acids to determine the operating mechanism of the "molecular gates" that regulate the movement of potassium ions in and out of nerve cells.
The ability to regenerate nerve cells in the body could reduce the effects of trauma and disease in a dramatic way. In two presentations at the NSTI Nanotech 2007 Conference, researchers describe the use of nanotechnology to enhance the regeneration of nerve cells. In the first method, developed at the University of Miami, researchers show how magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) may be used to create mechanical tension that stimulates the growth and elongation of axons of the central nervous system neurons
Nerve cells grown in three-dimensional environments deploy hundreds of different genes compared with cells grown in standard two-dimensional petri dishes, according to a new Brown University study. The research, spearheaded by bioengineer Diane Hoffman-Kim, adds to a growing body of evidence that lab culture techniques dramatically affect the way these cells behave.
"Scientists at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, have identified a key mechanism for successfully transplanting tissue into the adult central nervous system. The study found that a molecule known as MMP-2 (which is induced by stem cells) has the ability to break down barriers on the outer surface of a damaged retina and allow healthy donor cells to integrate and wire themselves into remaining recipient tissue. "
"Remember the old myth that people only use 10 percent of their brains? Although a new study confirmed that bromide to be apocryphal, it did find that we may only use 20 percent of the nerve cells in our midbrain to form memories. "
"Cells that are supposed to nourish and support other nerve cells instead secrete the poisons that cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, researchers reported on Sunday."